Friday, January 18, 2008

Favorites Friday

I love to cook, bake and putter in my kitchen. I'm sure most of you have figured that out about me by now. There's something magical about the completion of a full meal, or the conquering of a new and intricate recipe. It makes me feel accomplished. Taking a basic recipe and revising it for my family's tastes challenges me. I love "skinny-ing down" a favorite recipe, and having it come out just as scrumptious as the original. I even love my bright red and yellow kitchen and all the things that surround me when I'm creating family meals.

In addition, I love the connections that many of my recipes evoke. Making my potato soup reminds me of a sweet friendship with a former pastor and his wife, hanging out in their home with their adorable daughters. Layering a lasagna calls up the happy memories of pasta dinners around my parents' table. Putting together my mother-in-law's casseroles reminds me of how much she loves us and how she glories in making our favorites when we come home. Reading a recipe in my grandmother's elegant scrawl brings a tear to my eye as I assemble the ingredients and think of the special occasions when she cooked for us.

Today, I'm sharing with you some of my favorite dishes. If any of them sound yummy to you, feel free to drop me a line and I'll share the recipe. After all, those connections should go on and on - we need each other. Sharing how we nourish and sustain and even lavish the ones we love is an essential part of supporting and connecting with each other. Don't you agree?

My Favorite Dishes
  • Chile Rellenos - This egg-y, cheese-y casserole is HANDS DOWN the most favorite of all the yummy dishes my mother-in-law makes. I first had it when The Boss and I were dating, and even though I occasionally make it here at home, NOBODY makes it with the same skill and love as Mom W.
  • Ham and Lentil Soup - My mom has been making this for years and it's the absolute best soup for cold winter nights. Healthy and filling, I love to pair it with crusty dinner rolls or hearty rye bread. The secret is in the cloves!
  • Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage & Pesto - (or whatever other additions I can find!) I especially love this recipe because it came from total creativity and ingenuity. I had a little of this and a little of that and no money to run to the grocery store. It's never completely the same each time I make it, but even my pickiest eaters never complain when I make it for dinner. And there are almost NEVER any left-overs . . .
  • Baked Oatmeal - I found this recipe in my Weight Watchers resources, and have made it over and over. It's an excellent breakfast or brunch meal and, with a few revisions, it also makes a great snack bar for the kids. There are so many yummy things you can do to this recipe, it's almost fool-proof!
  • Chicken Chalupa Casserole - This Mexican-style recipe comes from my sister-in-law, over at Life and Lessons. She's a great cook and this one became a big favorite in our house after she made it for us when she was a newlywed. I haven't made it in a while, but now that the winter weather is really here, it's on the meal rotation for this month!
  • Mexican Chicken & Cornbread - My favorite "ooooops" of all time. We were planning dinner with friends and I was "revising" a less-than-healthy recipe I had. The chicken breasts fell apart and we've all been raving about the dish ever since. I'm particularly fond of how easy it is.
Yes, I've noticed that there are 6 here, instead of the customary 5 Favorites. You get a freebie from me today, I'm feeling generous. . . I also noticed that the majority of these recipes are Mexican or Spanish-styled. We like food with lots of flavor and flair around here. The Boss grew up in California and grew up eating this style of food. I love the flavors and textures of Mexican, but I mostly love the casual feel that meals like all of these create around my dinner table. Homey and comfortable - for anyone who joins us. Whatever the origins of the meal.


Livin' Life said...

Oh you are so the cooking guru I am glad my Knight doesn't read your blog or he would make me step it up a notch or two when it comes to cooking.
BTW so whats with the sears thing. Tell me more.

Heidi @ GGIP said...

The chicken chalupa thing sounds really yummy!

Jessica said...

hey they all sound great but I was wondering if you could e-mail me the recipe for the baked oatmeal. I started Weight Watchers again and that would be a great breakfast.